Methane formation in sewer systems

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1421-1430
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


Methane formation and emission in sewer systems has not received as much attention as hydrogen sulphide formation. Through field measurements from two rising mains, with an average sewage temperature of 28.4 and 26.6 °C, respectively, at the time of sampling, this study shows that a significant amount of methane can be produced in sewer systems, and that this production is positively correlated with the hydraulic retention time of wastewater in these systems. The experimental results from a laboratory-scale sewer system fed with real sewage with a temperature of approximately 21 °C confirmed these field observations and further revealed that methanogenesis and sulphate reduction occur simultaneously in sewers, with methane production contributing considerably more to the loss of soluble COD in sewers than sulphate reduction. The production of methane in sewers at levels revealed by this study is a serious environmental concern as it potentially results in greenhouse emissions that is comparable to that caused by the energy consumption for the treatment of the same wastewater. Further, methane production in sewers influences sulphide production and its management due to the competition between methanogens and sulphate-reducing bacteria for potentially the same electron donors. The potential interactions between sulphate-reducing and methanogenic bacteria in sewer networks are discussed. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Methane production, Methanogens, Sewer systems, Sulphate reducing bacteria, Sulphide

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Citation Format(s)

Methane formation in sewer systems. / Guisasola, Albert; de Haas, David; Keller, Jurg et al.
In: Water Research, Vol. 42, No. 6-7, 03.2008, p. 1421-1430.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review